Protecting Paradise in the Sounds

Cruising in the Marlborough Sounds is getting better every year thanks to the work of a dedicated group of locals who are working to restore the natural beauty of the area.

Over the past ten years the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust has been leading the fight against wilding pines – those pesky trees that are dotted on hillsides around many bays and coves and, if left unchecked, can outcompete native bush and takeover entire hillsides. This reduces habitat for native wildlife, increases fire risk, affects sedimentation and destroys the beautiful Sounds’ skyline. The Trust is on a mission to bring back the bush and birdsong to the Sounds and they need your help.

As you enjoy the Sounds this coming summer, keep an eye out for the distinct orange colour of newly poisoned pines or the skinny, grey skeletons of the older control work. The Inner Queen Charlotte was one of the first areas for the systematic pine control programme. Blackwood Bay, where the whole vision started, is reverting beautifully back to native bush.

The new season of pine control work is about to get underway. Springtime, when the trees are growing again and are more easily treated with herbicide, brings a new control season for the Trust. This year they will be starting work in Maraetai Bay, Tory Channel, with support from the Rata Foundation and a highly motivated and committed local community. This is a large project that will initially take three years.

The work of the Trust can also be seen in the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds. This year the Trust will be working in Greville Harbour, removing the scattered wilding pines appearing around the coastline in Mill Arm and Punt Arm, and revisiting work previously done on D’Urville Peninsula in Catherine Cove.

Photo: Wilding pine trees are visited on foot, drilled and then injected with herbicide.

How you can help

The Trust is supported by many people and organisations. It is a huge community effort that has only been possible thanks to the support of hundreds of landowners. The Trust relies on funding applications and donations to cover the cost of its operations. It is always looking for new supporters.

If you have a place in the Sounds you can help by controlling pines on your own land – learn how to do this at or contact the Trust’s coordinator Siobain Browning ( for advice.

You can also donate to the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust on the “Give A Little” website – Donations are directly used for pine control and your contribution will make a difference to the future of the precious Marlborough Sounds.

Help the Trust and make the Sounds’ boating experience even better!















Photo: How we would like the Sounds to look: native bush down to the shore and a ridgeline free of wildling pines.

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